Lessons from Love and War
When Tamar Braxton released her very first single “Love and War” from her same-titled debut album, I KNEW it was going to be a hit! It wasn’t just the intro of the beautifully arranged strings or the distinctive way the percussionist dropped the beat midway through the intro. It was the uncanny way the lyrics gave voice to my emotion and accurately the described the atmosphere of my marriage at that moment in time.
I had a feeling other women would relate strongly to it as well. Love and War is one of those “love” songs that you can put on repeat and just wallow in your feelings because the marriage struggle is real! And because dang it, Tamar Braxton feels you!
In all of its realness and emotional validation, Love and War has the capacity to teach us about marriage and to identify the unproductive cycles that can keep you stuck in a war zone and suck the love right out of your marriage if you aren’t intentional about breaking them. Let’s take a closer look.
The Disappointment of Unmet Expectations
L & W lyric: Somebody said every day, was gon’ be sunny skies/ only lingerie and Marvin Gaye, I guess somebody lied
This is where it all begins. Expectations. We are taught as little girls that our Knight in Shining Armor will come, sweep us off our feet, and we will live happily ever after. Even women who have been hurt and are distrusting of men still seem to buy into this myth especially if they believe they have chosen the right one, or better yet if God has sent them the one.
Regardless of how instinctive or inviting it is to ascribe to this stereotypical view of married life it’s imperative that you evaluate your own needs prior to marriage. If you’re already married, it’s ok to head to the negotiating table with your hubby to explicitly express your desires and listen to his. Discuss how/if they can be met and hold each other accountable.
Frustrations of Miscommunication
L&W lyric: We started discussin’ it to fightin’ then “Don’t touch me, please.”
The best ways to improve communication is to always assume your spouse has good intentions. You do it for a girlfriend or co-worker. If you know you’ve got a good man, be gracious enough to give your husband the same courtesy. It’s helpful if each spouse would share which actions or listening techniques makes them feel validated and heard. Finally, choose to be objective and open towards equally workable solutions or simply a difference of opinion.
Dangers of Explosive Anger
L&W lyric: We go so hard we lose control/ the fire starts then we explode
Being angry is an inevitable part of human relationships. Your husband is going to make you mad, and trust me, you are going to tap dance on his last good nerve! Regardless of your personality, if you are passionate about your position, you can naturally expect an intense rise of internal emotion. How you process and respond to that raw emotion is make or break. The key is knowing when to tap out. Avoid explosive interactions by implementing a calm and positive way to revisit disagreements—and follow through.
The Honor of Commitment with No Regard to Real Change
L&W lyric: ‘Cause we made it this far on for better or worse/ I want to feel it even if it hurts/ If I gotta cry to get to the other side/ as long as you’re there I’ll survive
This is INFURIATING to a solutions-oriented person like myself. Making up is a great way to get back in each other’s good grace. And honoring the commitment of for better or worse is admirable and adds an increased level of security within the marriage. However, if real solutions are not discussed, implemented and routinely practiced it is simply a matter of time before old wounds resurface and the saga begins again!
Even though it can feel like you’re cycling between love and war in your marriage, fighting your spouse is counterproductive. Instead, I want to encourage you not to just endure the pain or to give up. As a woman of faith, I believe that you are more than a conqueror in all things (Rom 8:37). So fight for your marriage, knowing that victory is already yours.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you experienced a similar cycle? What tips can you share to help others break free from the emotional rollercoaster of love and war?